Structured exercise program assists with physical and mental health

Navy News / July 8, 2019

By Ryan Melanson

Rather than continuing to struggle through painful physical training sessions, Petty Officer 2nd Class (PO2) Nancy Ervin recently made a change that’s allowing her to get moving again: she began following a doctor’s recommendation to start rehab with the Personnel Support Program (PSP) Reconditioning program and its team of physical exercise specialists in Halifax.

A naval communicator who has always led an active lifestyle, injuries accumulated throughout her career have begun to slow her down in recent years.

Chronic neck and back pain from years at sea, along with knee injuries and other ailments, led to her being able to do less and less when it came time for exercise.

“It’s just a lot of wear and tear on my body, and that has had a big impact on mental health as well. Exercise is very important to me, and If I’m not moving, I’m not going to feel good,” she said.

“You get worried about not being able to do certain things, you feel like you’re letting people down, and for me, that led to depression.”

She said getting a structured routine with professional advice on how to exercise safely has been a huge help, and though it’s only been about a month, the added workouts are already making a difference in terms of her mental health. Having the exercise prescribed by her doctor, allowing for flexibility with work, has also been a benefit.

“The difference in how I’m feeling is huge. I’m glad to be active again,” she said.

PSP Reconditioning Manager Kerianne Willigar said her team focuses on helping members exercise safely while dealing with injury or illness, but the benefits go beyond the physical. Learning to overcome injuries, or getting back into exercise after a sedentary period, can boost self worth, confidence and overall mental wellbeing for anyone.

“They’re trying to get back to a better quality of life. For people who have always been active, getting injured and not being able to have the same lifestyle can be a big shock.”

PO2 Ervin is nearing the end of her military career, but said putting the focus back on her physical and mental health has her back on a positive path.

“It’s helped immensely with my mood, and it’s nice to have people really helping me reach my goals to lose weight, get healthy and strengthen muscles that I’ve neglected.”

The PSP Reconditioning program is a fitness program designed to meet the demands of serving Canadian Armed Forces members who are dealing with injury and illness. For more information, visit:


Article courtesy of Trident Newspaper